Untitled 1989

Geraldine Ondrizek
Geraldine Ondrizek: January 13 – April 15, 1989
osage orange root, sumac

A long sumac limb stripped to smooth whiteness curls itself midair in the first room It forces itself through the wall into an adjoining...


A long sumac limb, stripped to smooth whiteness, curls itself midair in the first room. It forces itself through the wall into an adjoining room.

In the dimly lit space, an overturned root of an Osage orange tree leaves little room for movement. All soil has been cleaned away, revealing patches of orange-red skin.

Artist Statement

I am currently working with tree forms I find in the urban landscape where I live. i choose these forms according to the ideas I am working with, or in the case of site-specific work in that particular space. I change the original gesture of the form very little. I may strip the forms, sand them, add additional parts or remove parts as I feel the need.

For the installation at 1414, I salvaged the root of a 150 year old osage orange tree that I found on a construction site as well as a large, sharply curved sumac tree I discovered growing out from under a roadway. The installation takes place in two adjacent spaces connected by a door. The first space entered contains the singular white wooden line moving through the space, piercing the wall and entering the adjoining room containing the upside down root. The two spaces contrast the one another. The first is minimal, light and open. The other – confronting the viewer with its outstretched roots – is heavy and dark and nearly fills the entire space.

About the Artist

Geraldine Ondrizek received her BFA from Carnegie Mellon University and her MFA from the University of Washington. She is a Professor of Art at Reed College in Portland, Oregon. For the last twenty years she has created architecturally scaled works that house images and forms inspired from medical and biological information. This work, often based on the minimalist grid and conceptual strategies of art making, are meant for interaction and engagement with the viewers. Ondrizek’s work aim at questions of life’s origins, life cycles, and ethical issues related to genetics and the possibility to unravel genetic conditions. Ondrizek’s work has been shown widely in galleries and museums, including 30 solo exhibitions and numerous group shows. She was the recent recipient of an Oregon Council and Ford Foundation Professional Development Grant for the creation and exhibition of Chromosome Painting. Ondrizek also received the Stillman Drake Fund, the Levine Fund and Mellon Foundation Faculty Research Awards; and in 2006, won the Oregon Council on the Arts Fellowship.